A young Canadian woman went on a globetrotting adventure she couldn’t afford to post selfies and help smuggle $21 million worth of cocaine into Australia, but is paying for it now.
Melina Roberge has been jailed after pleading guilty to importing nearly 30 kilograms of the drugs on board a cruise liner which docked in Sydney in August 2016.
The 24-year-old was lured by her “sugar daddy” to become a coke mule in exchange for a free holiday, and blamed her actions on a desire to take photos “in exotic locations and post them on Instagram to receive likes and attention”.
Roberge broke down in tears as she was sentenced to a maximum eight years behind bars in the NSW District Court on Wednesday, with a non-parole period of four years and nine months.
Judge Kate Traill labelled it a sad indictment of the negative impact of social media on young people, who lead a "vacuous existence" seeking likes for self worth.
"She was seduced by lifestyle and the opportunity to post glamorous Instagram photos from around the world," the judge said.
"She wanted to be the envy of others. I doubt she is now."
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Roberge was one of three people arrested in the largest drug seizure on a cruise ship docking in Australia.
The court heard Roberge met her "sugar daddy" in 2015, and they began an intimate relationship while she worked as an escort for him.